Solicitors 'dress down' by the rule book

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The Independent Online

Solicitors are finally cottoning on to the idea of dress-down Fridays, though, being lawyers, they regard it as an excuse to draw up lengthy lists of dos and don'ts.

Solicitors are finally cottoning on to the idea of dress-down Fridays, though, being lawyers, they regard it as an excuse to draw up lengthy lists of dos and don'ts.

A memo issued by Virginia Glastonbury, the managing partner at Denton Wilde Sapte, one of the top ten law firms, informs staff that "smart casual" does not include shorts, sloppy sweaters, shirts with no collars, inappropriate T-shirts or trainers. Neither, continues the memo, does "dress-down" equate with "under dressing" and solicitors are expressly warned not to bare their midriffs to clients.

The firm asks staff to keep their business clothes close at hand in case they are called in to meetings with clients. It also urges its lawyers to arrange their own insurance cover in case their Savile Row or Prada suits go missing.

The Denton Wilde Sapte insurance policy, according to the memo which was printed in full in The Lawyer, a trade weekly, does not cover the theft of the pinstripe suit and the firm says it can't supply "lockable lockers" to all its staff.

Other law firms which have introduced casual dress codes are also keen to spell out exactly what they mean. Lewis Silkin, a London firm, has coined a new variation on dress-down days by calling them "dress differently" days. The stated aim is to encourage staff to "feel more comfortable and less constrained at work".